Message of the Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on the eve of World Earth Day

New Delhi
April 21, 2020

“We are marking the 50th anniversary of the World Earth Day at a time when the entire mankind is reeling under an unprecedented health crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic. It has also brought to the fore some startling revelations on the ecology of the world. The sweeping lockdowns have brought the world to a near halt, reduced the pollution levels and improved the air quality, making us realize the extent to which man has disrupted the ecological balance.

The time has come for all citizens to collectively strive for building a greener and cleaner planet. Environmental protection is the pious duty of all. Let us accord prime importance to protect Mother Nature, re-orient the development models and consumerism-driven lifestyles.

On World Earth Day, I urge people to become pro-active warriors in protecting the nature, thereby, enabling to make the planet, people and all other living creatures to lead a harmonious co-existence.

With World Earth Day 2020’s theme focusing on Climate Action, we must learn from our past mistakes and understand the importance of the symbiotic co-existence between man and nature. We are living in an inter-connected world and cannot continue with business-as-usual approach in the quest for development and modernization as every action impacts the environment. It is pertinent to mention here that our ancient system of medicine, Ayurveda also spoke of five elements of nature, the Panchamaha Bhootas -- earth, water, air, fire and ether and the need for their harmony at both macrocosmic and microcosmic levels.

The way forward is to build a sustainable planet by adopting climate- friendly policies in different sectors.

According to UNDP (United Nations Development Program), the green house gas emissions are more than 50% higher than the levels in the 1990s. UNDP also mentioned that bold climate action could trigger US$ 26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030. By focusing on sustainable energy, 18 million more jobs can be created by 2030 in energy sector alone.

In the wake of this pandemic, as we face unprecedented disruption, let us take note of the wakeup call on how we need to rethink our development paradigm. Let us revisit and re-invent our developmental and economic strategies. We must reinvent the future on more sustainable lines by drawing appropriate lessons from the past and the harsh present.

The closure of factories, industries, cancellation of flights and lesser number of vehicles plying on the roads have led to remarkable reduction in air pollution levels. Air pollution reportedly claims seven million lives every year globally. Hence the need of the hour is to move increasingly towards renewable energy, green building concept, clean technologies and the use of electric vehicles.

Following the lockdown, the oft-repeated phrase has been ‘the earth is healing itself’. True to it, the pollution levels in various rivers across India from Ganga to Cauvery have come down drastically. Especially, there is a shift in the purity of water of Ganges at some places from not being fit to bathe to being fit to drink.

At the grass root level, communities must volunteer to take up projects like tree planting on a massive scale, adopt the mantra of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to conserve natural resources. As a society we need to move collectively towards a more sustainable way of life. We need to protect nature and promote culture for a better future.”

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